Monday, October 30, 2006

Pictures From Our Nature Hike

We've had a wonderful time on our Nature Hike. We've learned all kinds of things from our great guide, Professor Verhoek (or "Miss Susan" as she was known today)--we've learned about leaves, kinds of trees, and poison ivy, too! And what a hike! Good thing Miss Susan had her trusty clippers, because we were really in the brush! We appreciate her kindness in teaching us and leading us today.


Here we are identifying and matching leaves.

The forest is gorgeous!


Miss Susan teaches us about leaves and tree identification.


We've learned about Queen Anne's Lace (also called "Wild Carrot"). Look closely right in the middle and see her purple ruby hidden inside!

We're identifying all kinds of trees!



And moss, too!

After a long walk through the forest, we hiked right through that brush! What an adventure! But just look at the gorgeous view once you're on the field on top of the big green hill!



Walk out a little further and look out over the valley--hills of fall colors dotted with stone and white church steeples. Beautiful!

We also saw huge black swans!

Arguably one of the favorite activities of the day--"mountain climbing!"

Visiting by the pond. What a fun day!

How To Become A Member Of INCH

It's FREE and easy to join INCH. We don't have any membership fees, we don't make you perform any bizarre rites of passage or go through any strange hazing requirements, and we don't even sing cheesy "welcome" songs!

Please email inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com and ask to be added to the mailing list to be up to date on all we do!

You are free to email us, ask us questions, and check out our website. The easiest way to join us is, quite simply, to join us! This is an open, inclusive group. Do our classes and field trips and activities look like fun to you? Show up and have fun with us! Do you have some classes you would like to teach? Join us and do it! Are you looking to make really good friendships in a welcoming setting? Come play with us!

INCH meets on Fridays for classes and field trips as well as other times for "extra-curricular" activities. We also have occassional Parents' Nights Out. Please always consult the calendar for specifics. Come find out more about our homeschool group! Thanks!

Please email inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com and ask to be added to the mailing list to be up to date on all we do!

Field Trip - It's Election Time!


Please join us on November 6th at 2pm as we learn about voting on a voting demo machine! We're meeting in Room #209 of the Lebanon County Courthouse and enjoying a brief explanation about voting machines. The woman with whom I spoke on the phone also said that we can enjoy touring the courthouse itself.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

National Young Readers Day

Nov. 14 is National Young Readers Day!

To celebrate, schools across the country are invited to host "celebrity"” read-ins where local heroes - whether it be a fire fighter, policeman, someone in the armed forces or any former young reader - to read a favorite children'’s book!

National Young Readers Day is a day that was created by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress in 1989 as a way to celebrate literacy.

More great ideas for celebrating National Young Readers Day can be found here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Take Back Your Time Day!

Today is October 24th. All day I've been trying to think of why this date sounds familiar. I've been scrolling through family and friend birthday lists in my mind. And then it occurred to me. It's Take Back Your Time Day!



Take Back Your Time Day is honored every October 24th. Why October 24th? Because it symbolizes the fact that every year Americans work 9 weeks longer than their European counterparts. So, in Europe if you bank your vacation, you could stop working on October 24th and have the rest of the year off! Compare that to the usual 2 weeks off for the typical working American.

You can learn A LOT more about this great movement on their website.

Their website states:

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME is a major U.S./Canadian initiative to challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and our environment.
They go on to describe "time poverty."

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Are you, or your friends or relatives, working more now but enjoying it less? Does your family's schedule feel like a road race? If so, you're not alone. Millions of Americans are overworked, over-scheduled and just plain stressed out.

  • We're putting in longer hours on the job now than we did in the 1950s, despite promises of a coming age of leisure before the year 2000.

  • In fact, we're working more than medieval peasants did, and more than the citizens of any other industrial country.

  • Mandatory overtime is at near record levels, in spite of a recession.

  • On average, we work nearly nine full weeks (350 hours) LONGER per year than our peers in Western Europe do.

  • Working Americans average a little over two weeks of vacation per year, while Europeans average five to six weeks. Many of us (including 37% of women earning less than $40,000 per year) get no paid vacation at all.

Contemporary Americans complain of unprecedented levels of busyness in everyday life. They worry about frenetic schedules, hurried children, couples with no time together, families who rarely eat meals together, and an onslaught of "hidden work" from proliferating emails, junk mail, and telemarketing calls. The Girl Scouts recently introduced a "Stress Free" merit badge for today's harried young girls.

More information from their website:

TIME STRESS HURTS ALL OF US IN DIFFERENT WAYS

  • Time stress threatens our health. It leads to fatigue, accidents and injuries. It reduces time for exercise and encourages consumption of calorie-laden fast foods. Job stress and burnout costs the U.S. economy more than $300 billion a year.

  • Time stress threatens our marriages, families and relationships as we find less time for each other, less time to care for our children and elders, less time to just hang out.

  • It weakens our communities. We have less time to know our neighbors, supervise our young people, and volunteer.

  • It reduces employment as fewer people are hired and then required to work longer hours, or are hired for poor part-time jobs without benefits.

  • It leaves many of us with little time to vote, much less be informed, active citizens.

  • It leaves us little time for ourselves, for self-development, or for spiritual growth.

  • It leads to growing neglect and abuse of pets.

  • It even contributes to the destruction of our environment. Studies show that lack of time encourages use of convenience and throwaway items and reduces recycling.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME DAY IS NOT ANTI-WORK. Useful and creative work is essential to happiness. But American life has gotten way out of balance. Producing and consuming more have become the single-minded obsession of the American economy, while other values -- strong families and communities, good health and a clean environment, active citizenship and social justice, time for nature and the soul -- are increasingly neglected.


The website goes on to say what they're doing about it and different ways we can all participate in the movement. THIS is the kind of organization for which I can totally see myself volunteering. I often consider it. For now, I at least spread the word, share the site, and highly, HIGHLY recommend the book. The title of the book is Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America. We own it and count it among some of THE MOST influential books we've read. We cannot recommend it highly enough. It is eye opening and life altering. Read it! Each chapter addresses a different aspect of time poverty and what we can do about it, full of interesting studies and fascinating statistics. It is a book of 30 essays by many different contributors.



Smile Cards - Random Acts of Kindness

This is one of the neatest programs and websites I've come across. I'm so impressed with their mission and purpose. We have a lot of fun with this program. This site encourages random acts of kindness. They state:
Starting in September of 2003, smile cards began appearing all around the world. They are markers of a newfangled game of tag, where "you're it" because someone has done something nice for you. Then it's your turn to do something nice for someone else and, in the process, pass the card along. This is a game of pay-it-forward: anonymously make someone smile, leave behind a card asking them to keep the ripple going. It's easy and fun. Is kindness truly contagious? There's only one way to find out ...

Join in the fun! Get your smile cards, read up on some kindness ideas, and get started!

We've ordered cards from this organization. They quickly arrive FREE in the mail and you can use them right away! The site has fantastic ideas on random acts of kindness and you can come up with your own, too! We carry them with us and have a lot of fun using them! Please do check out this website: HelpOthers.org and start enjoying the fun of SMILE cards! :)

Area Attractions

Here is a resource list of area attractions and information (museums, websites, historical societies, science centers, cultural sites, etc.). We are constantly updating this list--please feel free to email us with anything else you'd like to see added! This can serve as quite a resource for all of us! Enjoy!


Around Lebanon

Union Canal Tunnel Park
Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails
Lebanon YMCA
Lebanon County Library System (They have a WONDERFULLY accessible catalog and courier service)
Hershey's Chocolate World
Central PA (WITF's Monthly Magazine)
Here's a link to the many impressive events on the Central PA site


Around Lancaster

North Museum of Natural History and Science (They have a planetarium, too!)
Hands-on House, Children's Museum

Around Harrisburg

Whitaker Center: Harsco Science Center

Around Reading

Reading Public Museum (They have a planetarium, too!)


Around Other Parts of PA and Local States

November Calendar

The easiest way to join us is, quite simply, to join us! Do these classes and activities look like fun to you? Show up and have fun with us! We meet twice a week. We meet on Monday afternoons (2-4pm) for classes (or field trips) and a children's book club and game club and we meet on Friday afternoons (1-3pm) for free play, organized play, and/or field trips. We also have a Parents' Night Out on the 1st Tuesday of every month. Please always consult the calendar (and check often--we update A LOT and this is, at times, subject to change) for specifics. Thanks!

Nov. 3 (Fri) - Play and Games at Member's Home from 2-4pm

Nov. 6 (Mon) - Field Trip - Lebanon County Courthouse - Meet Elaine in Room #209 at 2pm (See pictures here.)

Nov. 7 (Tues) - Parents' Night Out at MJ's Coffeehouse 7pm

Nov. 10 (Fri) - Play and Visit (we're also making thank you notes for our recent field trip guides) at Christy's house (email for directions) 1pm

Nov. 13 (Mon) - Craft Class ("About Me" books) at the Lebanon Community Library Community Room 2-4pm (See pictures here.)

Nov. 17 (Fri) - Play and Visit at Mary's house (email for directions) 1pm

Nov. 20 (Mon) - Puppet Making at the Lebanon Community Library Community Room 2-4pm (See pictures here.)

Nov. 24 (Fri) - NO PLAYGROUP (Happy Thanksgiving!)

Nov. 27 (Mon) - Class TBA

More to come . . .

Friday, October 20, 2006

Classes Coming Soon!


Keep your eye on our blog! We're in the process of setting up weekly classes. Think art! Think music! Think crafts! Think languages! Think service projects! We're coming up with a series of enrichment classes and field trips and we're posting those soon.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How To Know When This Blog Is Updated (Without Having To Check All The Time)

Added March 2007: You can receive updates by email! Simply enter your email address in the box at the right!

Really basic: Subscribe on the right!

You can either click on the "Subscribe to INCH of Lebanon County" link or the "Subscribe with Bloglines" button or the orange chicklet on the right column. It's free and easy! If you aren't signed up with an aggregator (like Bloglines), then clicking on those other 2 buttons on the right will just give you weird code. Subscribe to an aggregator (like Bloglines or whatever) and then subscribe to our blog! It's that easy! If it's new to you, they'll lead you through the process and you'll wonder how you've used the web without one of them!

A Word about Bloglines
You can use bloglines on this and other sites, too. Another way to do it is to register here: Bloglines and then click on the little symbol that looks like this: on your favorite websites. There are other ways, too. It's all explained on Bloglines. (Those of you who might already be using aggregators know the drill for whichever one you use).

Here's why I like Bloglines.

The way these feeds work is explained well here. That whole page is worth reading really--it even shows you what it looks like when you check your news aggregator.

Basically, this saves you from having to manually check on your favorite websites all the time to see if there are any updates. And this works for many, many websites, groups, blogs, etc. This can save you a great deal of time and it can help you UNinundate (don't bother checking--no, it's not a real word. I just made it up. I like it.) your inbox! You check your aggregator (Bloglines, etc.) and it'll let you know which of your favorite sites have been updated. You may recognize that little orange symbol from other places on the web. It's called a "chicklet" and it's known as the universal feed icon. It lets you know that that site (on which you see it) publishes a feed (read: you can be apprised of any updates to the blog/site/group/whatever) to which you can subscribe using a feed reader (that's where bloglines comes in).

I hope this makes sense. It took me a bit to understand it myself, but simply subscribing to Bloglines and setting it up with my favorite sites and blogs has shown me how easy and user friendly it is! How have I not used one of these before?!

Lebanon Library Used Book Sale


The Lebanon Community Library is holding a used book sale on October 21-23 in the community room. They are also having a hot dog and bake sale in the lobby on October 21st, so come for lunch!

My Friend Jen

People sometimes ask what got us into homeschooling. It's a funny story really. We have these really great friends--the wife (Jen) and I are like long lost sisters (she has 3 brothers, I have one brother, so why not?). She is the kind of person (and if she's reading this, I apologize for embarrassing her by saying this) that exudes love of motherhood, love of children, love of homeschooling, love of learning, and love of life! She's a wonderful person to be around because it's contagious and you can't help but feel extra animated around her.

So, over the years, we've become quite close--at first mostly through emails and phone calls as we seem to live across the country from each other a lot. She, noticing that we parent similarly, recommended a book to me that she thought I'd love. I ordered it on Amazon (without reading a single review or summary, which I usually do)--that shows how much I value her opinion. We got it in the mail. I opened the package and beheld The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. Oh. My. Gosh. I told my husband we had just purchased a book about [gasp!] homeschooling!! Had I purchased the right book? Had Amazon accidentally sent me someone else's package? Did Jen homeschool?!?!

The next time I talked to Jen on the phone (we were in Arizona and she was in Michigan at the time), I swallowed, tried not to gulp, and trepidatiously asked, "Do you homeschool?" She enthusiastically responded with, "Yes!" and seemed genuinely surprised that I didn't already know that. Somehow it hadn't come up. We talked about it for a while and she told me that she had been homeschooled herself all the way through high school. Really!

I didn't know what to make of it all, especially considering the fact that my husband was thoroughly enjoying the book [!] and telling me how great it is. This shocked me a bit since he loved school and had a great experience. Also, I must admit that at the time we still kind of had a notion that homeschoolers were a little, well, strange? Weird? Socially backward? Remember, we're in our 30s and we grew up mostly knowing some homeschoolers that were a little odd as well as hearing negative comments about homeschoolers. That was in the 70s and 80s. Admittedly, much has changed and it's only gotten better.

So, we started to get on board with the idea of homeschooling as we read this great book and also considered how different the school environment is nowadays compared to when we were kids in school. Plus, we're nerds and the academic aspects of homeschooling appeal to us that way, too.

Well, we visited our friends in Michigan on our cross-country move to Pennsylvania. It was my first time meeting Jen in person (her husband and I knew each other from our teenage years). I loved her immediately. We hit it off and I thought, as I still do, that she was a wonderful person! I admit that I was assuming an observatory role as if she and her family were some strange specimen in a museum box--wow, a homeschooled person now homeschooling her own family! Well, I thought I might see strange behavior or notice a lot of socially backward moments. But I didn't! Her family is open, warm, fun, kind, and refreshingly normal! I later admitted to Jen, "Please don't take this the wrong way, but you are VERY normal!!" She, in her usual easy and warm manner, laughed and waved it off with, "I get that all the time!" I, liking the idea of homeschooling more and more all the time, was happy to hear that.

Well, since then, we have visited with them several times. We've started a fairly yearly tradition of vacationing together at the beach (see picture) in the summer, too. We share a beach house, share the meal and clean up responsibilities, our husbands (who also get along great) golf together, Jen and I enjoy dinner out together, our children enjoy playing together, and we all have a lot of fun together!

We joke about this a lot. We call it our own little "Amway scam." What's funny is the more I know Jen, the more I know that it absolutely was NOT a scam. She is extremely open about and excited about homeschooling! With everyone! We recognized that it hadn't come up in conversation at the time because she hadn't officially started with her children, her oldest being about 4 at the time.

We laugh about it now, but mostly our family feels extraordinarily grateful to her for introducing us to this way of life. We knew that we weren't thrilled about sending our kids to school, but we weren't sure what else we could do! We hadn't even thought of homeschooling! Now, with our trusty book in hand, we thrive on the joy that homeschooling brings to our family. We don't question what anyone around us chooses to do, homeschool or not, but for us, it is SO the right thing for our family. Without a doubt.

What's more, Jen, her husband, and their 5 children are moving here in Spring 2008. They feel strongly about moving close to us and we're thrilled with that! I'm excited to introduce her to the neat homeschooling families we're getting to know here.

If you'd like to see the blog that Jen maintains for her homeschool group in Arizona, click here: Apache County Home Educators

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

People Are Finding Us!


This is so exciting! People are finding us! We've submitted our site to sites and search engines all over the web (some can take weeks to get listed) and we've posted flyers at area libraries and we've also emailed a flyer to the Home School Resource Exchange in Lemoyne, PA. People are finding our site and they're excited about it (so are we)! Please feel free, those of you who have found us, to post a comment and let us know how you've found our site. We're thrilled that we're growing! Again, welcome! Check out our calendar and join us--we're friendly and we're excited to have you be part of the group with us.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Do You Have A Post To Share?

Email us! If you've read a great book in particular that you'd like to tell everyone about, besides posting in our "Pleasure Reading" section, you can write up a review and we can post it! Have you attended one of our activities and written up a review about it? Please submit it! Pictures are also welcome. This is a website for our group--please do feel free to contribute!

If you have ideas and suggestions for our group (classes, field trips, etc.), please email us and/or attend our monthly Parents' Nights Out!

A Word About Teens

We know that many homeschool teens seek other homeschool teens for support, social opportunities, and friendship. Please remember that we are a newly-formed group! Our numbers are growing. If you are among the first teens to arrive here, please stick around as others join, so that other teens seeking us out will see YOU and join us, too. Welcome!

Friday, October 13, 2006

How to Become a Member of INCH

It's easy to join INCH. We don't make you perform any bizarre rites of passage or go through any strange hazing requirements, and we don't even sing cheesy "welcome" songs! All that we ask is that you pay an annual membership fee of $25 and agree to our Membership and Participation Agreement. Don't worry--it essentially says that you promise to be civil and kind to everyone. Easy, right?

Check out our Guidelines and Participation Agreement and if we are a good fit for you, please email inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com and ask to be added to the mailing list (or waiting list, depending on when you contact us) to be up to date on all we do! We will be adding members twice a year, on September 10 and March 10. Between those times, you will be placed on a waiting list. You will receive notification when you are added and gain access to our private calendar, and then you'll be in the know!

You are free to email us, ask us questions, and check out our website. The easiest way to join us is, quite simply, to join us! This is an open, inclusive group. Do our classes and field trips and activities look like fun to you? Show up and have fun with us! Do you have some classes you would like to teach? Join us and do it! Are you looking to make really good friendships in a welcoming setting? Come play with us!

INCH meets on Friday afternoons for social and play time, as well as other times for "extra-curricular" activities and clubs, fieldtrips, and other outings. We also have occassional Parents' Nights Out. Please always consult the calendar for specifics. Come find out more about our homeschool group! Thanks!

Welcome!

If you're like me, you've searched the web trying desperately to find local people in the area who, like you, choose to homeschool. You recognize that getting together in social and academic settings is important for your children and family. You're interested in cooperative classes and field trips and activities. You see the value of free play time with others. You enjoy getting to know others who feel the way you do about home education. You are looking for opportunities to foster friendships.

As our description states, we are an inclusive group. This means that all religions (or none at all), cultures, methods of learning, kinds of curriculum followed, political views, orientations, talents, ages, families, and learning abilities are welcome (unless you're a jerk). We strongly believe that an inclusive cooperative group helps us better appreciate and understand one another, thereby making us all better citizens and people.

Do you live in Lebanon, Annville, Cleona, Jonestown, Fredericksburg, Myerstown, Palmyra, Cornwall, Campbelltown, or anywhere else in our county? Are you just outside our county borders (Hershey, etc.) but still interested? Do you live in Lancaster, Reading, or Harrisburg and want to be associated with our group? We're inclusive--we don't discriminate by geography either! In fact, we have members from Lebanon County as well as every county surrounding it!

We formed INCH in 2006, and we are continuing to grow. We have a variety of classes, activities, clubs, field trips, outings, and anything else we can come up with together. We get together as parents to socialize and support each other. We love to get together!

We are a diverse group whose members choose to homeschool or cyberschool for many different reasons, including academic, philosophical, family, religious, personal, medical, and more. We strive to not only be accepting of one another but to take it a step further—we strive to view all members’ opinions from their perspective as well.

If you feel that our group is a good fit for you, please join us! Contact us at inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com (that is an anti-spam measure).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hershey Museum History Contest


The Hershey Museum is holding a history contest. It is open to any student enrolled in public, private, or home school, in many counties including Lebanon. Students in grades 5 through 8 are eligible to submit entries. See their website for more details.

Ephrata Cloister Community Day

Ephrata Cloister is hosting a Community Day on October 27th from 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Explore some of the activities that made Ephrata famous and discover what made the Cloister a thriving community 250 years ago in this special hands-on educational program. Advance registration encouraged. Admission charged.

Yahoo! Time Capsule

You may be interested in participating in this really neat project: Yahoo! Time Capsule

"Like everything Yahoo! does, it'’s about you--our amazing users. We think there'’s no one better suited to teach future generations what the world was like in 2006. For 30 days, from October 10 until November 8, Yahoo! users worldwide can contribute photos, writings, videos, audio -– even drawings -– to this electronic anthropology project. This is the first time that digital data will be gathered and preserved for historical purposes.

...

And by November 8, you will have helped create a digital legacy of our times, a mosaic of revealing snapshots that will be sealed and entrusted to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings based in Washington D.C., officially taking its place in history. Before we deliver the Time Capsule to Washington D.C., we'’ll project the capsule contents onto one of the world's oldest time capsules, the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico, and beam it into space from the pyramid. Wow. This will take place October 25-27, and you can watch it live via web cast.

Finally, to thank you for your contribution to the Time Capsule, you'’ll be asked to help us select how Yahoo! will donate $100,000 to seven global charitable organizations."
Link to Yahoo! Capsule Overview

Ongoing Local Activities

The Homeschool Book Forum meets on the first Tuesday of every month (except January) at 10:30 a.m. at the Lebanon Library Community Room throughout the school year. All are welcome! It is a great way to show off projects, do oral reports, share a book report or tell about a book you've read, share a poem you've memorized, etc. In other words, it's a great way to have an audience and be an audience. It's also a great way to get in touch with other home schooling families in the area.

Homeschool Art Class at the Fredricksburg Library Fridays from 9-10am for $4.00/class. Great projects like kiln-fired clay pieces, batik, tiles to make stamped pieces, etc. Mrs. Cindy Mindy is the teacher--she teaches art at private schools in the area and is wonderful with the kids (great group of kids, too)! Feel free to join anytime--always new projects starting.

Rounds Singing Parties in Annville. Friends meet about once a month to sing songs together. We sing rounds such as the timeless Row Row Row Your Boat as well as funny, sweet, and challenging rounds by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Purcell, and Haydn. Format is go-around so you are welcome to bring a round to teach, pick one out of the book, or pass on your turn. All ages welcome to sing and participate, and a sitter will be available for those young people who just want to play while their adults sing. We sing for about two hours, with a snack break in the middle. Call Peggy (867-4052) for directions and more info.

Palmyra Bowling offers Bowling Classes for Home Schooled Students!

$6 per week
Session is 12 weeks long
Prepay & Save! Receive 1 FREE WEEK when you prepay.

• Meets Thursdays from 10am to 11:30am
• Bowl 2 games every week
• Coach will instruct students on the basics of the game
• Incentive awards and participation certificate
• Last day GLOW BOWLING pizza party!

Palmyra Bowling
1218 E Main Street ♦ Route 422 East ♦ Palmyra, PA 17078
Phone: 838-6341 www.palmyrabowl.com
For info call AMY or email Amy@palmyrabowl.com

A Theater Class is forming this winter (January 2007)! We will plan to meet at the Annville Free Library on Thursday evenings from 5-8 pm for theater instruction with the eventual outcome of putting on a play. Children must be able to read their script unaided and there will be a $45.00 charge for first child ($35 for siblings). If you are interested in more information, please email ereazer@earthlink.net and she will add your name to the list. We will have limited enrollment and after October 30th the class roster will close.

The Lebanon YMCA is offering YMCA Homeschool Swim Time. Homeschool swimming classes are held on Tuesdays from 11-12 at the VA pool. Contact the YMCA for prices and start dates.

Mount Gretna Roller Rink is holding family skate night the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month from 6:30-9:30 at a low cost of $3.00/person (extra if you rent skates).

There are several community, 4H, and animal clubs in Lebanon County. North Mountain 4H meets the last Monday of each month at the Water Works Fire Hall and offers general activities, such as cooking, sewing, archery, hiking, air rifle, scrapbooking, and crafts. There is a $10.00/year fee as well as $1.00 insurance fee, but most activities are free unless you need to purchase supplies. The group does many community service and social activities.

Palmyra Kung Fu offers classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings in North Palmyra. Students must be 12 or older. The studio is on Edison Drive which is near Gravel Hill Church. The class is extremely affordable, all ages, adults and kids together, and the instructors really like what they are doing. Time is from 7-8pm Monday and Wed nights, pay per month, dress is comfortable, sweats, and sneakers are fine - no need to buy anything special. Please feel free to call instructors Jack Alt @ 838-4254 or Calvin Chappel @ 838-5895 for more information.

A Homeschool Horsemanship Course is being offered in Jonestown!
Come and enjoy this introductory course on horsemanship, taught by Andi Jones, CHA certified instructor. The class will cover: Safety and horse handling, grooming and tacking, basic English and Western Riding and more. This is a weekly class, held on Fridays from 2:30-4pm, running Friday, April 6th to Friday May 25th. This eight-week course is open to homeschooled children between the ages of 10 and 16. The cost is $150. The class will be held at:

Hideaway Hills
84 Lickdale Road
Jonestown, PA 17038

Contact Andi Jones at (717) 222-1649 for more information and to register.

Read with the Barnstormers! Read 4 books and get free tickets to a baseball game! For more information, please contact Kevin Manno at 717-358-9862.

Jubalee Music offers a homeschooler discount for music and voice lessons--contact Donna Saltzer at 274-9447.

Piano Lessons taught by piano teacher/homeschool mom Susan Loncar (lives in Cornwall/Mt. Gretna Area). Daytime lessons available. Contact Susan at 279-6330.

Piano Lessons taught by piano teacher/elementary school teacher Ryan Stewart (lives in Jonestown). His rates are $25 per half hour. Contact Ryan at 865-0786 or email him at ryangibsonstewart@hotmail.com

Margaret Haley is offering her services as a Homeschool Evaluator to the homeschooling families of INCH! Her phone number is 717.866.4754.

Somer Parker is a homeschooler who is certified to do Homeschool Evaluations for elementary students. Her rate is $50.00 for an end-of-year evaluation. She will also do midyear evaluations and help new homeschoolers get started. You can contact Somer Parker at 717-395-8703.

Debra LeVan is a PA certified math teacher w/ 33 years teaching experience for grades 7-12 math. She is available for 1 to 1 or small group instruction/ tutoring/ homework help in 7/8 math, prealgebra, algebra 1&2, geometry, and precalculus. She is willing to travel and is flexible w/ time. You can reach her at dclevan@comcast.net or 717-805-7361.

Miriam David (B.S. Millersville University, Masters + 30 in Elementary Ed. Millersville University) has 37 years' experience in elementary education (primary experience with some in intermediate) and is retired (but still subbing) from Tulpehocken School District. She is offering her services to homeschoolers--either helping or assisting with evaluations. You can contact her by emailing her at grmrkl@verizon.net or by calling 610-589-2235.

Another homeschool evaluator - here is her letter of introduction:

I do evaluations at my home in Elverson, PA and I do distance evaluations. Attached at the end of this email is the information you will need for each.

I also evaluate for diploma programs, except for PA Homeschoolers, which I will not evaluate for philosophical reasons. I am very familiar with Erie and am on their list of certified evaluators.
For an in person evaluation, please email or call me at 610-913-0132 to schedule an appointment.

This is the information I need for a distance evaluation:

Student's name
3-5 pages from portfolio (copies please or SASE for originals)
Supervisors name and mailing address
Date 180 days completed
Response to interview questions (see below - include with portfolio samples
or request a phone interview)

Interview Questions:

1. What was something you learned this year that surprised you? Explain.
2. What was your favorite book, subject, museum, park (or something else)
you learned about or experienced this year?

Fee: $35 per student

Dawn Sweeney
2850 Harmonyville Road
Elverson, PA 19520
(610) 913-0132

Pick a morning, up to 4 times a year, and get the chance to shadow a zookeeper at Hershey ZooAmerica. For $15.00, you shadow from 8-11:30a.m. in one of the 4 areas of the zoo. The areas are divided into first building, second building, south side of stream, and north side of stream. This program is for ages 14 and up, there is also a middle school camp offered over the summer, details to come.
To register, call ZooAmerica @ 534-3900

Paws Volunteer Opportunity - You can volunteer at the local PETSMART to clean the cat cages in their adoption area. You are encouraged to play with the cats and kittens while you are there! They are seeking more volunteers and it is a very simple "job"--fresh food and water, clean litter in each cage (depending on layout, about 7 or 8 cages) and you can do this anytime between 7am and 9:30 am. They prefer it be clean when the store opens at 9, but are just grateful someone is willing to do the job. To volunteer, pick up an application by the kitties, it is an adoption/volunteer sheet- fill it out, and return it to PetSmart. The Reazers got a call the very next day!

Borders Books & Music LOVES Homeschoolers! Borders Books & Music proudly offers all homeschooling families 25 % off almost everything in our stores -- either for classroom or personal use - over our EDUCATOR SAVINGS WEEK, every March. Just present some form of homeschooling ID; it's as simple as that.

Host Foreign Exchange Students from France and Spain for a month! If you would like to know more, please call Sharon Ganz at 610-670-7878 or email at blessingsgaloreptl@yahoo.com Feel free to ask her anything at all about this program. She can also supply you with names and numbers of other families who can tell you of their experiences! You can also go to www.nacel.net to learn more about the organization that oversees her groups.

Please let me know of any other regularly scheduled local activities and I am happy to post them here. Please contact us at inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com. Thank you!


Pleasure Reading


This section is a fun place for us to simply share good books that we're reading! Please use the comment section to tell us about what you're reading (anything--fiction, nonfiction, children's books, etc.) and why you do or don't recommend it! All are welcome to post. :)

October Calendar

The easiest way to join us is, quite simply, to join us! Do these classes and activities look like fun to you? Show up and have fun with us! We meet twice a week. We meet on Mondays for classes (or field trips) and a children's book club and game club and we meet on Fridays for free play, organized play, and/or field trips. We also have a Parents' Night Out on the 1st Tuesday of every month. Please always consult the calendar for specifics. Thanks!

Oct. 2 (Mon) - Play and Picnic at South Hills Park in Lebanon 11am

Oct. 9 (Mon) - Play and Picnic at South Hills Park in Lebanon 11am

Oct. 16 (Mon) - Bike and Scooter Riding and Picnic at park adjacent to the Annville-Cleona Pool 11am

Oct. 17 (Tues) - Parents' Night Out at MJ's Coffeehouse 7pm

Oct. 23 (Mon) - Kite Flying and Picnic at South Hills Park in Lebanon 11am

Oct. 30 (Mon) - Nature Walk in Annville led by Lebanon Valley College Biology Professor Susan E. Verhoek (if you would like to join us, please contact us at inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com for directions) 1:30pm (See pictures here.)

Meet Our Members

INCH has been created by 4 families. We’ve all searched for local groups and have noticed that there aren’t many, so we’ve decided to create an organized one together! We have been meeting together since Summer 2006. We get together twice a week for learning and fun.

This site talks a lot about our vision for this group. We are an open-minded group that values learning and diversity (hence our “inclusive” group). We see the value and importance of a cooperative group where we can all have fun together, learn together, share resources, and form friendships. (Many people who have been home educated all growing up don't feel that they've missed out on anything, due in large part to cohesive, organized cooperatives of homeschoolers that met regularly throughout their childhood/adolescence. They maintain many of those friendships as adults.)

Sometimes we receive inquiries about the ages in our group. First off, we reiterate that all are welcome! We are growing. Our group has a range of ages of children, from babies to 16 or so. And we are growing--what started as 4 families has grown to about 20 families so far. We hear of groups that have 20, 30, 40+ families--all of those groups have started with a few families. Whatever your ages, stick around (others will join, too) and please join us—have fun with us, learn with us, be friends with us.

Please use the comment section of this post to introduce yourself and your family to our group. Share with us a little (or a lot) about yourself and your family, telling us your ages, talents, hobbies, why you've chosen to homeschool, what curriculum you use (e.g.,Well-Trained Mind, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, etc.), suggestions for our group, what you love about home education, and anything else you'd like to share. Remember, we are an INCLUSIVE group--we welcome and embrace one another and are excited about diversity among us!

Note: This post is open to all who'd like to comment. As a note, only two of the people in the comments' section of this post (as of June 2008) attend regularly, some attend now and then, some haven't yet attended, and some have moved away! So please don't be shy--all are welcome to post! And keep in mind that there are MANY in our group who have not yet commented on this post!

Welcome!


If you're like me, you've searched the web trying desperately to find local people in the area who, like you, choose to homeschool. You recognize that getting together in social and academic settings is important for your children and family. You're interested in cooperative classes and field trips and activities. You see the value of free play time with others. You enjoy getting to know others who feel the way you do about home education. You are looking for opportunities to foster friendships.

As our description states, we are an inclusive group. This means that all religions, cultures, methods of learning, kinds of curriculum followed, political views, talents, ages, families, learning abilities, and personalities are welcome.
We strongly believe that an inclusive cooperative group helps us better appreciate and understand one another, thereby making us all better citizens and people.

Do you live in Lebanon, Annville, Cleona, Jonestown, Fredericksburg, Myerstown, Palmyra, Cornwall, Campbelltown, or anywhere else in our county? Are you just outside our county borders (Hershey, etc.) but still interested? Do you live in Lancaster, Reading, or Harrisburg and want to be associated with our group? We're inclusive--we don't discriminate by geography either!

We are a newly-formed group and we are in the process of getting the word out and growing our group. We are setting up cooperative classes in such subjects as music, art, art history, and anything else we can come up with together. We have a children's book club. We do field trips together. We play together.

We are a diverse group whose members choose to homeschool for many different reasons including academic, religious, philosophical, family, personal, and medical. We strive to not only be accepting of one another but to take it a step further—we strive to view all members’ opinions from their perspective as well.

My name is Stacy (you can learn more about our family and other members of INCH in the “Meet our Members” section) and I’ve put together this website as a means to both organize and promote our group so that others can find us and join us. We enjoy INCH very much! I speak for my own family when I say that being a part of this group enhances our social and educational methods. Even though we follow a very organized curriculum, our approach is becoming more and more eclectic and custom tailored all the time as we interact with and learn from those among us whose different approaches we also appreciate and enjoy. Please explore the links on the right—you can learn more about us, see what kind of activities we’re enjoying, and even see what we’re reading! Again, welcome!


If you feel that our group is a good fit for you, please join us! Contact us at inchoflebanoncounty AT gmail DOT com (that is an anti-spam measure).